What is structural nonlinearity? The notion of linearity has become so ingrained in the practice of structural engineering that the term nonlinearity feels shadowy and ominous, vague and unconventional. Nonlinearity means that the structural behavior will be different, but how? What constitutes nonlinearity and what are the different types?
There are multiple components, conditions, and behavior that all fit under the umbrella of structural nonlinearity. The terminology surrounding nonlinearity can be overwhelming – P-delta, secondary effects, inelastic behavior, softening/stiffening, large deflections, gap and hook elements, physical nonlinearity, follower forces, nonprismatic, directionality, etc.
What are all the different types of nonlinearity that are possible in structural analysis? Why are they different and when do they need to be included? This course aims to introduce the full range of structural nonlinearity, describe their behavior and effects, and provide insight into when nonlinearities should be included in analyses.
Note: The content in this series of courses is advanced and requires a solid understanding of structural behavior and considerable experience with linear structural analyses. The reader should be familiar with beam theory, determinacy and internal stability of structures, strength of materials, and should be experienced in idealizing real-world structures and have exposure to some more advanced concepts such as plastic hinging.